An interesting story at an interesting time:
Iraqi militants are taking most of the $US1.5 billion ($A1.92 billion) a year that's stolen from Iraq's main oil refinery through smuggling and corruption, the government told parliament.There is nothing new in this story, but one wonders if it is being sold to the media now ahead of a crackdown on security for oil facilities. That would tie in nicely with the US military "surge", which itself is timed to guarantee signing of the new Oil Law.
Speaking at the second reading of the 2007 budget, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said crime is behind the crisis in the oil industry, which is struggling to meet Iraq's own fuel needs despite having the world's third biggest reserves.
"We have a system and an administration which encourage corruption," said Salih, who has oversight over the economy.
"We are losing $1.5 billion at Baiji refinery alone and most of this money is channelled to terrorists who are using it to target us and target our nation."